Back in June, I set a goal for myself: by mid-September I wanted to have a complete manuscript of the book. At that point I had 300 pages of material, I had a beginning, and parts of a middle, but the work had large gaps and no ending—it was not a book. I created an ambitious work schedule for the summer and adhered pretty closely to it, and after giving myself an extension to October 1st, am amazed to say I achieved my goal—I wrote a book.
Getting there was intense. Almost every day I spent hours, barely conscious of the real world, living in the fictional one I was creating. It became easy to get into the fictional world, but harder to get out, some part of me staying there, reluctant to leave until it was finished. While writing I was hardly aware of my actual surroundings and for hours after each session I still felt only partly present in the here and now. The process felt similar to a migraine episode, just thankfully without pain.
The work reached a fever pitch in September, when I realized how much was left to do to meet my goal. I worked harder, longer, flying through the many tasks on my to-do lists for each section of the novel, slogging through chapter after chapter, version after version. On September 25 disaster struck when I spilled coffee on my laptop and the “genius” at the Apple Store told me it was almost certainly dead. Per his instructions I waited 72 hours, and prayed a lot before trying to turn it back on, very grateful that I had backed up all my important work on the book. And when it miraculously turned back on, undamaged, after many prayers of thanks, I got right back to writing and editing.
By September 30 I was not satisfied with everything in the book—I don’t know that I ever will be—but I had a beginning, middle, and end, without major gaps. I had a piece of work, a book, of which I feel very proud.
I. Wrote. A. Book.
Yes, there is still editing to do. But for the first time, I feel like if I were to die today, someone else could finish the book and it would remain mine. It has an essence of its own, is no longer just living within me. I have given birth to it.
Which leaves me…tired, depleted, proud, empty. Not empty in a bad way, but as if this thing that has occupied most of my mental and psychic energy has let go of me, moved on, leaving room for something else. And now that it’s let go of me, I have a sense that I will be able to let go of it. This journey has been incredible, but it’s nearing the end, and though I don’t know what comes next, I’m almost ready to find out.